Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Job : Psychosis

The Job

Chameleon Eclectic Entertainment once released a Charles Ryan game called Psychosis.   When I first heard about the game, I knew I just had to find a way to play it.   In the game, there are no character sheets.  No dice are used.  The game basically uses Tarot cards to represent your "character sheet" and to resolve any events that happen in the game.  You see in Psychosis, you can't even trust who you think you are, until you uncover more and more clues to the truth in the game.

Think of it like the Tarsem Singh movie "The Cell" but add role-playing elements and a hint of madness into the pot.  Yes, and you're a bit closer to what the game can be like.

I was able to run a game for some friends using the system, and let me say this:  Psychosis really challenges one's preconceptions on what is necessary for a role-playing game to be fun.   In games like this one, the very experience of the narrative unfolding becomes more paramount than anything else.

Simply put:  Every game session is for the player to figure out and make sense what is really going on.

I can't wait to run more Psychosis sessions for others.

Deep Space : Trinity

Around 2007
Deep Space

Hope, Sacrifice and Unity.
The Battle Rages Across the Stars.
And you are the Weapon.

The players were all members of a squad sent to check on a space station that had ceased communications.  Standard sci-fi thriller fare.  Upon getting there, the find themselves up to their necks facing what can only be described as a variety of alien races.  It was only later on that the player characters realize these aliens were not out to kill them.  Instead, they were out to gather them up to use for furthering their species.

Alien invasion rape.

Just like H.R. Giger would have loved it.

To my surprise, so did the players.
And that's always a good thing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Global Frequency : cWOD

Global Frequency

Based on the incredible comic book series by Warren Ellis, the role-playing game I ran had players be members of an international organization whose main form of communication is through extremely cool cellular phones.  They deal with threats and dangers which the ordinary person on the street never hear about, and the governments of the world would probably deny ever-having happened.  Of course I'm horribly over-simplifying the series, but let's just say you have to read the comic (or see the leaked discontinued pilot episode of what could have been a really good television series) to grasp how awesome the concept of the comic is.

So I created a one shot game to get my players into the feel of the comic, and after wards lent them my copies of the comic to enjoy and devour.  It was a great romp with the players coming up with their own tactical ideas on how to best fight against a hive-mind-like invasion that was infecting others through words.

Eventually the game spiraled into a larger scale, and I couldn't help but inject a bit more of Planetary into the stories.  Surprisingly, I cannot right now recall how the game ended.  But I definitely know it had a lot of screaming action sequences.

Runaways : DC Heroes

Mayfair Games' DC Heroes

I had the players choose and recreate their preferred member of the Runways using the standard points for character creation with Mayfair Games' DC Heroes.    The game started pretty much close to the comic series, with them all over-hearing and witnessing their parents to be actual villains.  They (of course, as the title expects them to) runaway and find themselves on the run from the very people who took care of them and raised them in a life that was filled with deception and lies.

The group went much wilder, however, when I revealed that the major story arc of the game diverged from the comics entirely and began resonating events of the O.M.A.C. project and even further spiraled deeper into the story that comic readers will recognize as the Infinite Crisis story line.

In many ways, that's what I love about having a lot of role-playing game options to try.  You can experience familiar stories and give them a different twist or you can see how the stories would unfold if certain things went a different way altogether.

Who knows?  Maybe someday, I can run a game that has the players go through The Infinity Gauntlet story line mixed with the events of All Star Superman or something like that.

Ah gaming!  Always fun and memorable.

The Breeders of Yore : d20

The Breeders of Yore

I met up after work with Wyhan to journey all the way to Malate and host a d20 game for them. After warning them of my preferrence for rules-lite games, I ran them a story which began with interesting start-up stories on how their characters began and lead it to an encounter with some female elves that were desperate to continue their dying out line.

After escaping their "jewel" grabbing clutches, the party arrives at a halfling town and there forms a party with the daughter of the elven queen and a halfling priest whom they had rescued. Their crazy antics lead to their accidentally slaying a kobold Paladin who had been used as a distraction by an evil shapechanging elven sorceror, the father of the elven warrior, and finally, a trapped encounter with the elves returning to see thier sorceror-king dead.

Confusing? A tad. But it would make more sense if you ask the players.

All I am doing is marking down the fact this game happened.

Then again, they DID ask me to run an adult d20 game.  So that's what I did.  Maybe I should have clarified with them that "adult" is different from "mature" but somehow I cannot help but suspect adult was truly what they had wanted me to throw at them.

(Correction on the image, by the way: It was Wyhan, not Wynhan)

On hindsight, if I had more time to prep, I probably would have had them infiltrate a porn studio run by Beholders.  Now THAT would have been an awesome "I-can-never-unsee-that-image" thing to have thrown at them.

Giovanni Chronicles : cWOD : Vampire the Dark Ages

Around 2005
Giovanni Chronicles
cWOD  : Vampire the Dark Ages

This was my third time to run a Vampire the Dark Ages chronicle.  It seems my love for the game was an intense adoration that my players also had for it.  In as much as some of them were part of the second and first time to try the game, they didn't mind separating character and player knowledge for another spin at the game.

In this version of the Giovanni Chronicles, the game was merged with the events marked in the four books of Transylvania Chronicles and smaller game books such as Fountains of Bright Crimson and the like.   The players were given chances to shape the world and history during downtime sessions.

Sam, Seth, Aldwin and Awie portrayed their characters with much more pathos than I expected.  Anastasia di Pragha (Sam) embraced her Faith and struggled to find a means to show Vlad Tepes spiritual guidance. Niccolo di Medici (Seth) carefully played his hand as he verbally assaulted the Voivode of Voivodes Rustovich himself before the Ventrue Elder Dominus. Santiago de Saber (Aldwin) bravely presented his skills with both word and steel in his approaches towards the Furores and those present in the Convention of Hermandstat. While Harrad bini Alazeez ibn al-Faqadi (Awie) showed a powerful capacity for versatility in his scenes with the Toreador and the Tzimisce. 

I truly love how each time we play Giovanni Chronicles something new is explored and uncovered in the game. As much as the game may have been tread familiar ground, we keep finding new directions and themes to explore it with.

Desperate Heroes : d20

Desperate Heroes

We gathered at the Game Room to play a one-shot d20 game which I told my players was heavily inspired by Lord of the Ring's Helm's Deep situation and Dragonlance. But what I didn't tell them was that I was prepping two major twists in the plot: the first being that the enemy had actually already taken over quite some time ago, and the second being the way the heroes have been viewing non-humans... yes, I touched on racism in a role-playing game like d20.

This was Desperate Heroes.

The game was a blast with players begin forced to try different tactics as they faced off against the hordes of non-humans that were DEFENDING what they have long believed to already be their own home.

Admittedly, some times I find myself missing the tactical component that d20 games offers.  And the fact that killing a character honestly feels less... game-breaking compared to how it feels when you lose one in a storyteller game.

Having finished in the wee hours of the morning, we decided have a session of Uno Stacko (whose pieces we had lovingly used to map out our game).  It was a nice fun way to cap the game weekend.

Makes me wonder how those gamers are now.  Been a while since I've seen them.

Imaginary Friends : nWOD

Imaginary Friends

Was asked to run a game for a married couple who was curious to try a role-playing game.  With my good friend James as my first-mate (a player who knows a tad more about the plot than the others), Jurist and Art discovered the danger of stories that are never given a proper ending, and the delightfully disturbing society of forgotten imaginary friends that lies behind the shadows of the world.

Greatly inspired by Christopher Golden's Strangewood novel, the game had its dark moments even if we were all pressed for time.  Ultimately, what was important was that they had fun.  And I hope they someday consider having their kids play role-playing games too.

The 94th Day : cWOD : Vampire the Dark Ages

June 2010 - March 2011
The 94th Day
cWOD : Vampire the Dark Ages

Thirteen Individuals from varying backgrounds each receive an invitation to be present in a banquet being hosted by Lord Claudius Giovanni. Rich. Poor. Religious. Talented. Beautiful. Intellectual. Skilled. Each one a shining example of one virtue or another. Each one with a reason to accept the invitation.

On the 3rd of April, 1444, the thirteen arrive at the Red Lamb Inn and make the decision that will change their lives forever.

On the 94th day, the thirteen leave the Red Lamb Inn and make their way to La Bella Casa Giovanni. Little did the thirteen know this was going to be a day that rewrites the destinies of countless immortals forever.

This was the fourth time, to my recollection, that I have run a Giovanni Chronicles game.   Alas, this was one of the chronicles that had to be indefinitely on hold due to real life pressures and responsibilities demanding time from the players.    You can see how far we got in the game by checking out the blog I made for it.

In as much as Giovanni Chronicles has been described by many gamers as too rail-roady and a showcase for Mary Sue characters, I personally love it because it allows the players to experience key events in the classic World of Darkness metaplot and yet give them enough wiggle room to do things that are different and unique.

So who knows.  Maybe years from now, when the kids are bigger and life offers us more time, me and the four players of this game might see this page one day and decide to push through with it again?  Personally, that would be awesome.

Vampire and its lure is immortal.

Macross: Another Song : Palladium : Macross

Macross: Another Song
Palladium : Macross

We decided to have a Robotech/Macross table top campaign. I had three players.  Seth played a micronized Zentraedi who really hates being with humans but likes the fact siding with them gives him freedom to have individuality and identity. Aldwin played a pure human who hopes to gain some fame and respect from the others soon. While Sam played a half-breed who hides the fact she is one for fear of ridicule and racism.

The game was set 80 years after the movie "Do You Remember Love" with many ideas liberally inspired if not outright taken from the Macross II: Lovers Again manga/anime which frankly I preferred over Macross 7 or Robotech. Although I do admit I loved Robotech, the whole plot of the Robotech Masters and E.B.S.I.S. just turns the whole thing into a hyper convoluted plot. And the time-warping ending just reeks too much of Star Trek for my liking.  (Sorry Rocky!)

So its back to the Valkyries, the Gerwalks and the Melzendi... back to the Marduk, the Emulators and the Lisa Hayase... and back to the Yak de Culture instead of "Protoculture!"

I have to admit, Palladium nicely captured the feel of having ten, twenty or fifty missles flying at you, and you making your Valkyrie take a spin in order to dodge them while you use your rifle to shoot down the next incoming thirty missiles.

I wonder when Macross will ever have a full-length live-action movie adaptation.  With today's computer generated graphics and green-screen technology, I'd love to see such a movie happen.

And for those curious, this is how the game ended. With the Marduk invasion in earnest, the heroes attempt to fold the Zentraedi Scout Ship into the Marduk despot's main command center. But the attempt fails and the heroes re-emerge 9 hours after the invasion with a dead Earth beneath them. Of the three heroes, one lone hero remains among the survivors, having lost a limb in the battle. But with the tragic turn of events the power of Macross and the secrets of protoculture are now lost as the invasion of an alien race called the Invid take over the planet.

The end.

Cainite Heresy : nWOD : Vampire the Requiem : Hunter the Vigil

September 2009
Cainite Heresy
nWOD : Vampire the Requiem : Hunter the Vigil

A number of vampires in New York City are starting to grasp the existence of a hidden Covenant calling itself the Cainite Heresy, and how this ties in with the supposed Simon Dark entity (a comics character who I adapted to be a Promethean in my game), a public servant who seems intent in destroying it, and some conspiracy calling itself the Lucifuge who has located their most promising candidate yet.

The game has been going on for months now, and the players have had their share of victories and failings. Sacrifices were made, friends were betrayed and in some cases, lies were upheld in order for the greater good to seemingly win.

I gathered elements of cWOD's Cainite Heresy as well as a healthy helping of the old metaplot of having an Ancient sleeping beneath the city and gave it a nWOD touch.  The Covenants of the nWOD nicely filled the niche of what clans such as the Baali and sects like the Sabbat used to portray.  Add to that the fact that practically every Covenant has their own religious system or philosophical belief, and it wasn't hard to quickly create a darker version of the Heresy.

Sam played a vampire of the bloodline known as the Gullikan, whose hyper-active sense of smell resembled much that of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille of Perfume: Story of a Murderer.  His character was being stalked by a strange figure known as Simon Dark (yes, based on the DC comic property) which I eventually revealed to be a Promethean composite of the character's old mortal lover.  The story had a nice dark fairytale quality to it which I wish we were able to explore even more before the game got cancelled.

Rocky had recently joined the gaming group at this time, and his foray was to be a normal comic store owning guy who learns there is a bigger world waiting for him.   Zac Efron guest stars in the game as himself, and is later revealed to have been usurped by a demon that is warning him of a group known as the Lucifuge.  Zac attempts to seduce him and have him turn away from the group.

All in all, the game was pretty fun for a foray into the new World of Darkness and its Vampire the Requiem line.

Once : nWOD

Around 2010
nWOD : Changeling the Lost : Promethean the Created : Slasher

Inspired by the comics series Fables, the video game franchise Kingdom Hearts and Grimm's fairytales comes a game that mixes myth with murder, romance with re-imagination, and obsession with omnipotence.  Once explores the stories of a group of changelings who discover the very Gentry may be at war, and the hopes of a Promethean threat to achieve godhood may be the very thing that unites friends and foes together to face the one true antagonist of the world.

Here, four characters discover that their stolen identities might actually have some connection to one living a stolen life. Three of the players have begun to learn their lives are intimately tied to the tales of Jack the Giant slayer, Captain Hook and Briar Rose... and are learning even much faster that things aren't that simple. The Promethean in the game is slowly discovering more about herself, her past, and how her fate may be tied upon these prodigals of legend.

Mahar, Rocky, Adrian and Nabs were the players of this chronicle which gave new horrific meaning to Carpenter songs, answered the riddle of where Amelia Earhart vanished to, and gave us a glimpse of how the popular tales and myths can be twisted by a malicious force with the resources and reach of the Walt Disney Corporation.

Music was one of the biggest tools in this game, with a serial killer known as The Clipper stalking and murdering women all over the city with only a Carpenter's tune and a pair of scissors as his constant modus operandi.  Each time the Slasher would enter a scene, I would play an appropriate Carpenter's song to mark his presence.  It didn't take long for players to feel uneasy and worried at any point a Carpenter's song could be faintly heard.  Sort of like how the theme music of Jaws served as a thrilling device, Carpenter's became the ominous tune to be afraid of.

The game had loads of wonderfully funny and horrific moments too.   Rocky found himself struggling to find peace between the warring groups of political circles that he unfortunately was entangled among.  Nabs fought against her eternally diminishing sense of humanity as she slowly uncovered the truth of her Gentry past.  Mahar pondered over the importance of protecting one's children, even if one seemed to have the destiny expected of an anti-christ.  And Adrian discovered quite terrifyingly how the path to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

Dead_Stories : cWOD : Wraith the Oblivion

Before 2009
cWOD : Wraith the Oblivion

In one of the Open Gaming Meets at Residecia, I ran a Wraith the Oblivion game for a bunch of guys who were close friends.  I opted to make them all part of a single band in order to push the game's fun factor and as a twist, had only one of them survive the traumatic accident that claimed the lives of their friends.

The game was a crazy compelling session with the players using what wraithly powers they had to try and save the life of their band mate as he struggled with survivor's guilt.  The group had a small taste of how difficult it is for a Wraith in the World of Darkness to affect the living, and how being dead doesn't mean the story ends.

Even more awesome, one of my players created a song for the fictional band in the game.  Check it out here.

The Comedy is Over : Orpheus

Before 2009
The Comedy is Over 

Orpheus is a storytelling game of modern horror and survival by White Wolf Gaming Studios.. Sort of like a cross between FlatlinersSilent Hill, and the Ring, Orpheus brings a group of ordinary people who share one thing in common into a world where ghosts are real and death is never necessarily the end.

The chronicle's title, "The Comedy is Over" is from a quote by Ludwig van Beethoven upon his death bed. The full quote is as follows: "Friends applaud, the comedy is over."

Once again, the recovered Geocities site shows how much I put into a website for a game (back when webspace was free!)  The game sessions are recorded, with matching Storyteller commentary for each section.  I also had created additional resources for Orpheus games, which was used by other groups who had back then found the site very informative if not resourceful.

Amusingly, one can see this early that Jake Gylenhaal was already making appearances in my games :-)

Admittedly, I loved my NPCs in the game.  Orpheus had signature characters in the game who serve as magnificently useful plot points for the players to work with.  It was a great way to help the players move through the plot without turning them into mere sheep that follow the shepherd.  This was a chronicle that successfully used all of the books of the Orpheus line.

This would not be my first foray into Orpheus.
And hopefully it won't be the last.

Vampire Gehenna : cWOD

Before 2009
Vampire Gehenna
cWOD : Vampire the Masquerade

“And the third angel sounded,
and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp,
and it fell upon the third part of the rivers,
and upon the fountains of waters;

And the name of the star is called Wormwood:

and the third part of the waters became wormwood;
and many men died of the waters,
because they were made bitter.”"

-(Revelation 8:10-11)-

After thirteen years of wondering gaming and memorable stories, White Wolf's World of Darkness comes to an end with the Time of Judgment campaign.

This is my attempt to combine seven very special books released as supplements with the last 13 years into a single coherent storyline. The story would touch on action, drama, personal horror, intrigue, passion, wrath, death, and the price of Vampirism.

Let me use this opportunity to say Thank you! to White Wolf for the chance to explore their ideas and nightmares.

Much like the Changeling game, this game was created using the four offered approaches to the end of the world for a Vampire the Masquerade game.  With me being me, what was a Storyteller to do if not combine all FOUR plots into a single coherent story line.   Given this was a Gehenna game, I did not see any need to limit the players in their choice of characters.  

I realised I wanted to touch on many aspects of vampirism in the chronicle.  My group wasn't too keen to playing more than one chronicle of Gehenna too soon, and I didn't want the three other scenarios to go to waste. So I wove the whole plot into one coherent (for me) scenario.  Then added the craziness of The Lair of The Hidden and The Red Sign into the mix.  And as a final dash, added the ideas of Days of Fire (the Demon the fallen book) into the mix.

I asked my players to choose among all the White Wolf games we ever had the one and only character they loved the most. (Obviously, this was among their vampire characters) That character shall be the character they will play in the game.

I then asked them to re-create the character in three sheets: Dark Ages, Modern and newly embraced. That way, for flashbacks and the like, there are existing stats to use.

Then I asked them to submit to me a summary of the character's history, basing it on the events they recall that the character had gone through, and readjusting events when clashes/inconsistencies arise (for example: Two players had characters that went through the Giovanni Chronicles (Books 1 and 2). Since their games had differences in events, one was willing to adapt to the other's events.)  

Four players.  The world ends around them.
Eleven game sessions to end it all.
United States, City of New York
The current Malkavian Primogen, Angelique Beatrice Baptiste is waking from a nightmare. A strange feeling surrounds her. One of familiarity and fear. She feels the pounding in her blood and in her dreams hears the voices still counting as they fade away.

Spain, City of Aragon
The Priscus known as Shaman, a Gangrel anti tribu feels a strange sensation while sleeping beneath the earth. The sensation is a familiar one. Of a pair of arms that cross over his non-existent chest. Of a voice that seems to softly whisper familiar nurseries. The Gangrel wakes, feeling disturbed... none have ever made him feel any sensations in the past while melded in the Earth.

Canada, City of Montreal
The infamous Ulrich Von Magnusson, currently one step away from becoming a full-fledged member of the Red List, visits some old friends in the Sabbat-controlled city. He visits the infamous Tzimisce, the Rose and is invited to take part in some form of a conspiracy... one which so happens to be orchestrated by Ambrogino Giovanni.

And in Africa, the capital of Egypt, Cairo
A Lasombra anti-tribu named Pablo struggles to find direction and balance between his Faith and his vampiric nature.

This was their tale.

Changeling The Time of Judgment : cWOD

Before 2009
Changeling : The Time of Judgment

After thirteen years of wondering gaming and memorable stories, White Wolf's World of Darkness comes to an end with the Time of Judgment campaign.

Just like the Gehenna game, this is my attempt to capture those 13 long years of beautiful stories, epic legends, heroic deeds and disturbing nightmares into one chornicle worth remembering.

Let me use this opportunity to say Thank you! to White Wolf for the chance to explore their ideas and nightmares.

"People think dreams aren't real
just because they aren't made of matter,
of particles.
Dreams are real.

But they are made
of viewpoints, of images,
of memories
and puns and lost hopes."

John Dee,
in Preludes & Nocturnes.

This was one of the most emotionally draining games for me to run.  It contained so much of what I love about Changeling the Dreaming and explored the many ways the fae would deal with the coming of the end.  The game had a shifting number of active players, with a range of stories to explore.  The recovered Geocities site shows both the Chronicle record and my storyteller notes for each and every session.  Sorta like an "Absolute edition" of a Tobie game.

It was sad though, how the game ended with more of a whisper than a bang.
But that's how it is sometimes.

Dreams just abruptly end.
And you have no choice but to remember what you can.

Memento Mori : cWOD

Before 2009
Memento Mori

When White Wolf Gaming Studios released their Time of Judgment books, I wanted to run a bunch of games that commemorated the end of the World of Darkness.  Now, for the major lines such as Vampire and Demon the Fallen, I had run my own games for them.  For the smaller lines however, I realized I wanted to explore how they fared with the end of the world in their own way.

That is what lead to the creation of the Memento Mori sessions.

For those who don't know:
Definition:\Me*men"to mo"ri\ [L.]
Lit., remember to die, i.e., that you must die; a warning to be prepared for death; an object, as a death's-head or a personal ornament, usually emblematic, used as a reminder of death.

To help any players who wanted to have a session grasp what the world was going through, I created a news tickler for the Memento Mori game.  In the tickler, major events in all game sessions were noted down (all written with the viewpoint of a specific writer, typically mortal) and left for the players to interpret on their own.

At the end of every game session, I would then create newspaper clippings that captured the events of the session as new reports.  You can find these images below (which have been taken from the recovered Geocities website)

I had hoped for enough game sessions to have newspapers set all over the world.  Unfortunately, we only had enough for Los Angeles and New York to be listed down.  I had players who were Hunters from Hunter the Reckoning, asian vampires of Kindred of the East, and even normal folk who sadly had to face the changing world.

The Devil Made Me Do It : cWOD : Demon the Fallen

Before 2009
The Devil Made Me Do It
cWOD : Demon the Fallen

"Fallen, fallen,
is Babylon the great.
It has become
a dwelling place of demons."
-Revelation 18-

This was our group's first foray into a Demon the Fallen game.  Boy did we go crazy with the game, with players losing host bodies very quickly and in another case, a player needing to create a new demon to play as.    Set in Los Angeles, the players we given the freedom to create their own plots and their own schemes, which lead some of them to come in direct conflict with others.

Of course, the game was then further developed to move in both directions from its starting point.  Through numerous flashbacks the players would uncover lost memories of their time at Fiat Lux (which in the Demon the Fallen game referred to the beginning of everything) and the game sessions would then move forward from the present to the eventually major Battle at Los Angeles when the great one the world knows as Lucifer comes out into the open.

The game was a massive one, which touched on the Time of Judgment book line of White Wolf Gaming Studios, when they were releasing the books that were to end the old (now referred to as Classic) World of Darkness.

The game had me creating a few new Storyteller Resources too.
Read all about this game chronicle, and the optional rules on Torment, learning True Names and tracking Celestial Names by going to this recovered Geocities page.

Masquerade Grande : cWOD LARP

Before 2009
Masquerade Grande
cWOD LARP : Vampire the Masquerade

He wore the gown.
The ebony gown that was his Sire's. No one liked her. No one in the room particularly even wanted to remember her. The Lady Jadviga Almanov of Bohemia was not one of the Kindred others would love to still see walking about. Her harsh tongue and cold heart were legendary by Toreador standards and quite frankly (though never admitted aloud), none in the room save the Toreador ever really cared for her passing.

Except to thank whosoever brought her death for making their own lives easier.

But SHE came back.

This was an awesome game, since it was one of the few games I ran which literally was held in public view.  The gaming area was cordoned off, as to avoid causing confusion with those who were not playing.  The game was held within a mall so it had a lot of exposure to people who were definitely not gamers.

My players were DJ Mojo Jojo, Isami, Tommy, Cliff with my then-office mate Joey (who never played an RPG before) playing the role of the Ghost who reveals to them the true reason the spirit of Jadviga Almanov of Bohemia returned.  Being an un-official LARP game, this game did not use the usual Mind's Eye Theater Live Action roleplaying game system.  Instead, depending on the clans of the players, I handed them each bunch of a small cards with the name of the Disciplines they had.  Each card could be "used" for an effect.  So one with Dominate, for example, can hand the card to another player, then say, "You will tell me who your sire is" and the other player get's forced to comply.  The system was crude, but it worked in keeping the game fun, that's for sure.

Purists will note that Jadviga is supposed to be Ventrue, but for this game I felt it would be awesome to have her as a Toreador instead. :-)  I guess only a Toreador would wear her gown to "remember her."   Of course, it was only later that the players realize the gown itself combined with this ring that she owned that was allowing her to manifest through her childe.  So they eventually strip the childe (me) of both the ring and the gown.

I still remember handling Joey the small note with her acting notes and asking her, "Are you sure this isn't too weird for you?"  She smiled and told me, "This is going to be fun!"

For the gown, I had to go to my uncle Ricky who was handling the theater group in Ateneo.  I asked him if I could borrow it and miraculously, the gown fit me (given I was what, a 5' 11" guy with a thirty six inch waistline by then?)    The old recovered site is here, but I decided to repost all the images in this page for easy viewing.  

So much like theater.
So fun.

Yes, in our world, the Kindred drank Diet Coke.

Maynilad Dakong Takipsilim : cWOD LARP

10/2002 to 11/2002
Maynilad Dakong Takipsilim
cWOD LARP : Vampire the Masquerade Mind's Eye Theater

" Katawan mong madudurog,
uuuri't mabubulok,
siyang sinusunudsunud,
hinihimas, iniirog.

I once had the opportunity to actually hold a series of LARP games that were considered official Camarilla sessions.  To be frank, I once felt this was a high point in my gaming hobby-career since it meant being part of something "officially international."  Now though I realize the high point is each time I see a player enjoy the game enough that they still remember it years later and compliment me for it.

We had three officers then:  Seth who handled Chapter coordinations, Me who handled the Storytelling (For Camarilla-Anarch sessions) and Gelo who was the Assistant Chapter Storyteller (and was Storyteller for Mage).  We had a modest number of members: Alvin, Joey, Tommy, Cliff, Sandor, Aldwin, Isami and Marco.

And we actually had an ongoing story-line which reached a second chapter.  The games lasted for two months, with numerous rumors of a Sabbat plot, of strangeness going on beneath the city, of political maneuverings and other story arcs that were deeply ingrained to old World of Darkness metaplot.  Admittedly, I love the character profile pages (and art) i made for them.
In the darkness of the shadows,
the Kindred plot and prey
and feast upon the blood 
of a thousand martyrs.

Alas, the group eventually broke off, after finding the official group to slow in approving story arcs and the like.  The freedom to just shape plots that make it more fun for your players is one of the big things that one loses in a game that's tied to an international level.  So yeah, we kinda decided we had enough and moved on.

Silent Hill : cWOD

Before 2009
Silent Hill

Yes, I ran a one-shot game based on Silent Hill.  You can find the flavor text for the game here.  Can you believe it?  I'm such a huge fan of the franchise that one night I decided that I had the balls to actually run a game based on it.

I had two players for the game (Augs and Vic) and yes, I had the soundtracks from the videogames to compliment the session too.  This all happen way, way, way back before Silent Hill 4 and the movie ever came out.  To my recollection, the game was much more based on Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2.  The game also had the players learning of their psychoses and finding threats which were based on these hidden dementia.    The game also had pyramid head, which is always good.

Gosh, I love Slent Hill.  (But yeah, I'm not sure how to feel about the upcoming Silent Hill: Downpour seems it seems to be too different).  Maybe I should eventually come up with another Silent Hill session, just for fun.  Maybe best to do it without telling the players before hand.

Sacrament : cWOD


[sacrament] begins with four people find themselves drawn into a mystery that spirals around the fringes of their perceptions. All are aware that some strange manifestations have begun to come into effect, but none are sure of what is going on.

Appearances of strange visions begin to worry some of them. The sensation of being watched begins to haunt others. And when the truth of their gifts is revealed, most ponder on what other truths that man has long chosen to ignore shall once more be revealed?

When a single man known as Jude Hol begins to kill various individuals in the City without any rational pattern or reason, one learns to either trust in one's own instincts or have faith.

What is [sacrament] ?
[sacrament] was the mystery that unfolds in the game. The game itself was special and not approached in the the usual manner one approaches a role-playing game.

In this game, this is the unique twist: Many pieces of information, secrets, clues and mysteries connected to the game’s story were hidden in the website. Links to other information, sources or possible resources were also in the site. Lurkers (people who aren't officially in the game and want to just watch or observe) get to join the fun by searching the website for information.  Many portions of the game moved forward through email, chat as well as discussions via SMS messaging or telephone conversations.

The game had four players:  Aldwin, Isami, Tommy and Sandor.
The game also had the following people as lurkers: Oli, Cliff, Jae, James, Awie, Benjie, Robert, Hector and Marco.  (The handles were Ghost, TNH723, The Confessor, Kenneth Jenner, Recon, g8keeper, creed, Gil Perez, Guilty, Ambulas, Abarthach and Eye-Spy)

Lurkers, were permitted to join anytime and try to solve the mysteries. There was a forum where lurkers can discuss with other lurkers what the game is about. Sadly, the forum is down now.

The game used a modified approach to the White Wolf's Vampire: the Masquerade storyteller game, the rules tend to be following those in the rulebook. But I had generously changed many factors to add more mystery and darkness into the setting.

[sacrament] challenged the players as well as the Lurkers to think creatively to their limits. The game requires players and Lurkes to think out of the box.

Imagine scenarios such as the following:
  1. Having to locate "demons" in real world scenarios within a prescribed amount of time. Success causes changes in the game.
  2. Contacting other players using SMS (text messaging) without knowing whether or not they can be trusted in the game.
  3. Researching the net for the meaning of names, numbers or terms used in the game.
  4. Perusing photographs, planted evidence, articles and notes that might lead to clues on the game.Even now, this very page already has such information, or at least leads to such info. The former page had literally nearly a hundred hidden links for players to peruse.
In the end, the truth was revealed:
[sacrament] was about four people who were given the power to deal with the coming Tishri, a renewal of the world similar to the end of the world.  Jude Hol is revealed to be the angel Gabriel and he believes that the world must be allowed to come to pass as it was "written."  However, the four have inherited the power and rights that King Solomon once was given, and they realize the demons must be stopped before everything falls apart.

Thankfully, yes, the players did succeed.
But at great cost.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Art : cWOD

Before 2009
The Art

I once ran a game which was greatly inspired by movies such as Dark City and comics such as The Invisibles.  What I came up with was a game called The Art, which was even more infamous among my friends for having an intensely evolving website during the game itself.  Extra pages would pop-up overnight, new images would offer clues, and hidden links were abound.

If you want, you can try exploring a remnant of the site here.

The game had four players, which each player learning more about this ability to affect reality called The Art as the game progressed.  Part of the fun was how the characters could create magickal effects in the game by doing things as players.

The game also made use of what I called The Lurker System.

What is the Lurker System
Lurkers are players who are not part of the main table top sessions, but at times might guest in a session or may affect the plot indirectly through out-of-game moves. All Lurkers represent a particular NPC (Non Playing Character) who exists in the game. A Lurker, for example, might contact another Lurker and send him misleading information. Such actions are reflected in the table top game, and can lead to unexpected plot twists and sudden dramatic moments.
Lurkers are requested to have at least one, if not all of the following:
A working Email Address
A working cellular phone, with the willingness to cover for all the expenses that may be incurred using the phone.
A willingness to show up when vital for the story as a guest player in a game session.Lurkers tend to have certain knowledge of things that the Players would find very useful to gain. Gaining a Lurker's trust, however, remains in the providence of IC (In Character) communication.
Who thought of the Lurker System?
I came up with the Lurker System a few years ago when I ran a game called Sacrament. In that game, I had created a living, evolving website that reflected many of the game events as time passed. Soon, even people who weren't playing the game were perusing the site in hopes of learning more interesting information on the game. These people, whom I could not accomodate on a normal game session, wanted to some how be part of the game.
The Lurker System was born. 

The game had a very healthy host of characters in the game.  The players were composed of Alex, Henry, Seth and Trisha.  The game also had Patrick, Rico, Tommy and Cliff as Lurkers, who actively sent the players in-game information and clues through text messages, emails and other means.  One even met up with a player in secret to hand him a message.

Amusingly, there were also three people who frequented the game sessions simply to watch it unfold:  Patrick, Tommy and Nikos.

You can find the very informative Chronicle page here.

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